U.S. employers lost nearly 3 weeks of work per employee due to sick days

Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366

U.S. workers took an average of 14 sick days in 2007 due to their own illness or injury, or to care for a sick child or other family member, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. On average, employees took 10 days off because they were sick or injured and an additional 4 days to care for family members.

The Federal agency's analysis also found that:

  • Workers aged 55 to 64 took an average of 18 days off of work, compared with 10 days for workers aged 16 to 24.
  • About 38 percent of female workers missed work in 2007 for their own health problems vs. about 30 percent of male employees.
  • Married women (24 percent) and married men (17 percent) aged 16-64 were more likely to miss work to care for a sick child or other family member compared with unmarried women (14 percent) or unmarried men (7 percent).
  • Only 26 percent of uninsured employees took sick leave compared with 36.5 percent of privately insured workers and 32 percent of people with Medicaid or other public insurance.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Restricted-Activity Days, 2007: Estimates for the U.S. Noninstitutionalized Population, Ages 16-64, available at http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of February 2011
Internet Citation: U.S. employers lost nearly 3 weeks of work per employee due to sick days: Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366. February 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/feb11/0211RA33.html